MG404      Half Unit
Consumer Insights: Behavioural Fundamentals

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Nikki Sullivan 


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Marketing. This course is available on the CEMS Exchange, Global MSc in Management, Global MSc in Management (CEMS MiM), Global MSc in Management (MBA Exchange), MBA Exchange and MSc in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

For many companies, non-profit organisations, and political figures, success relies on understanding the “consumers.” What is it that they really want, and why? What information will they attend to, and what will they ignore? How do they make decisions, why do they sometimes make bad ones, and how can we help them make better ones? It can be tempting to answer these questions intuitively, based on your own experiences as a consumer. However, intuitions about human psychology are often wrong.

  • Chronic and temporary sources of customer needs, desires, and motivations
  • How customers search for information, acquire, and process information
  • How customers allocate attention and how to attract it
  • Customer decision-making processes, and the heuristics and biases that play a role
  • The formation of attitudes and intentions, and processes for persuasively changing them
  • Social influences on intentions and behaviour, including unconscious determinants
  • Why intentions are or are not translated into behaviour, and what strategies can be used to narrow the intention-behaviour gap.


30 hours of seminars in the MT.

This course has a reading week in Week 6 of MT.

Formative coursework

One essay prior to the summative essays; one quiz prior to the summative quizzes.

Indicative reading

  • Consumer Behavior, 6th edition. Hoyer, MacInnis, & Pieters. South-Western Cengage Learning, 2010;
  • Consumer Behavior: Science and Practice. Kardes, Cronley & Cline. South-Western Cengage Learning.
  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Cialdini, Robert. Collins Business, 2006.

Further references, especially for journal articles and HBS case studies, will be provided at the commencement of the course.


Essay (30%, 1500 words), essay (30%, 1500 words) and in-class assessment (40%) in the MT.

Two essays (30% each; 1500 words each) in the MT.

Two quizzes (20% each) in the MT.

Teachers' comment

LSE offers two courses addressing consumer behaviour: MG404 Behavioural Fundamentals for Marketing and Management and PS456 Consumer Psychology. MG404 is designed for the students of Management to complement their curriculum, and PS456 targets the (future) decision-makers and advisers in business and organisations dealing with consumers, including non-commercial.
There are some similarities in the content of MG404 and PS456. Broadly, both courses introduce the psychological foundations of consumer behaviour, and are intended to equip students to apply psychological theories to business situations. There are, however, important differences in the orientations of the two courses.
MG404 is intended for students studying management and related disciplines, who want to learn how to influence consumer behaviour (e.g., how to construct persuasive advertising or sway purchase decisions). MG404 introduces the principles of consumer behaviour that firms need to recognize for successfully marketing their products and services, and which consumers themselves can use to make optimal decisions.
PS456 provides a skillset and a toolbox of theories and methods for analysing consumer demand, finding the levers for change and building sustainable business models. For assessment, students choose a real case and write a set of (justified) recommendations to the CEO. PS456 may especially be of interest to students across a broad range of programmes who are interested in developing new modes of relationship with consumers or building sustainable business models as an alternative to the current consumer society.
The courses share some content where appropriate; other content differs in accordance with the different goals of the two courses.

The methods of assessment have been changed for the 2018-19 academic year.

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2018/19: 121

Average class size 2018/19: 70

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness